Spring Broken

On Friday for my Photo a Day project, taken at the Cave of Hercules, I mused, “I wonder what labors I will have to endure to deserve this type of view.” On Saturday I found out.

It is now Sunday evening and it hurts to type this. Just breathing is laborious. Yet somehow I am determined to get this post up.

My “breaking spring” week toured 4 cities in 10 days. I didn’t realize how prescient I was being in my pun nor post. From Edinburgh to Lisbon to Tangier to Madrid, my friends and I had a whirlwind but epicly fun set of adventures. If you’re wondering, it is really by dint of cheap flights and happy accidental finds that we set our itinerary.

Double Rainbow Camel RideOn the way we shared lots of laughter and beautiful vistas, each locale trying to best the last for the ultimate experience. I completely fell in love with Tangier.

The camel ride under a double rainbow might have something to do with my newfound love of Africa.

Yet I also just enjoyed being in such a different, bustling, alive place. We kept looking at each other and saying “is this real life?!” It was with sadness that we left after just 48hours. I am quietly ruminating on how to get back there for an extended visit/stay.

Labor

The week culminated hooking up with friends in Madrid yesterday. [Read more...]

Unscheduled Maitenence

My personal “check engine” light has been glaring at me for the last weeks. I look at the date and think “Where did January go?!” I have been busy, yes, but certainly not so much that I could miss an entire month passing by.

Somehow I thought that life would find this magical place where the hourglass would even out and I would have time. Yet alas, no. Not yet.

Bug in SnowLooking at my posts for the last year and taking stock, it seems this is rather a continuous problem for me. Whirlwinds of adventure mean that time goes quickly. It is a reminder to appreciate moments but also that maybe I should finally take stock and figure out a bigger chunk of what I am doing. Hello Adult-Type World, I guess I am in you now.

In addition to figuring out my big-girl-pants next life steps, I’ve been in the process of trying to come to terms with this blog. See, at the end of December I broke my steak of blog posts. Once I missed one, I missed many. It is sad to say that a habit can so easily fall apart.

Instead of wallowing, however, I’m pushing myself to get the thing done and, imperfect as it will seem to me as soon as I hit publish, I will ship this today… or at least “today” Eastern Standard Time. Sounds like a rather inauspicious beginning but such has been the journey to this point and so at least that wild streak will continue.

The Tune Up

The conclusion that I have come to, my dear reader, is that Wednesdays don’t work for me. It isn’t anything that they did, you see, it is just me. I’ve changed. I’m not breaking up with them entirely though, I hope we are going to remain friends.

[Read more...]

Support Finds Us

Often we seek out support in various forms. If we are really self-aware and willing to be vulnerable we will even ask for the help we need.

We strive for connection, to be understood, to be told “no, you’re not crazy.”

Sometimes support and encouragement, validation and assistance, comes from the least expected corners.

Light over WaterIt is the long-lost buddy sending a simple hello.
It is the random FB acquaintance donating to a campaign.
It is the former coworker encouraging travel with her ideas and example.
It is the long conversation that reaches into realms of intimacy and self-discovery that had long been missing.
It is the smile and compliment of a stranger.
It is the accountability partner asking for advice and help.
It is the comment on the blog saying our words have resonance.
It is the impressed words of a coach and mentor.
It is that article from Twitter that seems to speak to our soul.
It is the deadline and expectations of someone we respect.
It is the friend saying “no” when I really want a bite of his gelato – his way of supporting my goals.

It is the reminders that there is more in life and it is not only ok, but absolutely right to reach for it.

It is even easy to get wrapped in the minutia of life and fixate on what we don’t have. It is even easier to let the perceived ignoring and judgement of others hold too much sway in our lives — preventing us from pursuing our dreams.

Tumblr Photo Posted November 03, 2012 at 10:16PM It can be lonely out there. Yet, if we allow ourselves to look for the good and tune into it, we can also see just-as-little signs that we are “daring greatly” and on the right path. These little glimmers of affirmation, of promise, of hope, can be the support we didn’t know we needed.

My friend Dani has shared wonderful prose recently about knowing yourself and chasing your desires. When we are daring and brave enough to start following those passions that feed us, working to create the life that we want for ourselves, we need all the help we can get.

We find for ourselves the inspiration and the information. These little-big moments of support we can choose to intentionally enjoy and can keep us going.

The important part is to take the small kudos and affirmations and not just rest upon them or fixate on getting more of them, but use them to spur us onward towards our true goals. The Universe, via the people around us, provides these successes not as stopping points, but breaths of renewed energy to fuel our progress.

Clasp tightly, be IN your journey and continue chasing down your dreams.

Sempre Avanti,
Jo

PS If my words today spoke to you would you do me a solid and buy me a virtual beer visa-vis my Pencils of Promise campaign? See, I needed to write this to myself as I am nearing the end of my Abs Challenge. I’ve often felt crazy for doing it and, while I am close to success on the abs front, the fundraising has fallen short of my expectations. I’m bucking myself up for a renewed push and a little show of support by helping some kids in need — would go a long way.

PPS Did you know I write other places? Check out my newest Versaletter, this one from Vienna, or my Hack Library School post on switching my degree program to a Masters of Information Technology.

Hopeful Thankfulness and Responsibility for Change

This morning I awoke after a scant 2 hours of sleep to listen to President Obama speak about enduring hope.

America’s re-elected President, even with election results still coming in, spoke of the “stubborn hope” that persists against most odds and makes us work all the harder for the ideal image we believe in.

I sit at my keyboard this morning in Italy with my own hope-fire burning a little brighter.

Sunset over Brooklyn BridgeYes, I am bolstered by what I see as positive election results in Senate races (go ahead and let the door give you a hard smack on the way out you rape down-players and marginalizers of women’s and all citizen’s rights) and, yes, the Presidential returns.

More than what I heard this morning, I hold close to my heart the words I read yesterday from President Obama to a 10 year old to, in the face of bullying for being different, “treat others as you would like to be treated,” and a reminder that ”what matters above all is the love that we show one another.

Politics completely aside, I have seen that resilient faith, hope and love in action over the last weeks in my friends and acquaintances in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

New York State of Mind

Today also marks 4 years since I moved to New York City. I miss “my city” today more than ever.

[Read more...]

A Lover in Firenze

Arno Sunset 2Those first days of being smitten are intoxicating.

A little extra jiggle in your step, hint of smile at the corners of your mouth, mind abuzz with the possibilities.

This is how Florence has been making me feel.

I was on the hunt for a “secret” late-night bakery a few mornings ago with a student-friend. We wandered over cobblestones and through a few wrong alleys before we discovered the correct back door — no “hot doughnuts now” announcement here and so much better for it.

Walking away from the unmarked door, under an ink sky punctuated with barks of laughter and hum of activity even at 3am, we enjoyed the most fresh, warm, delicious chocolate-filled doughnuts ever made. No guilt, just pure unadulterated pleasure.

This nicely sums Florence for me.

What is the word?

AlleyIt was on the purposeful wander that my companion asked what I thought of Florence so far. More specifically he asked what I thought the feeling or mode of the place and it’s citizens are? Does the city agree with me.

I related that my initial impression still held but my experience was deepening and expanding. Somehow it feels more exciting then even during those first days.

I paraphrased Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of “one word” for a city and searched for the right one to describe Firenze.

It is fitting that I could only come up with French. I still struggle to overcome my default pronunciation and responses en Francais.

The feeling I get from fair Firenze and Florentines is: Bon Vivant

The city, she is a playgirl. She is a muse, a pixie, a lounging nymph of Baccus… perhaps even a succubus.

Florence, she calls in the night, luring you out when you should know better. She makes you feel young, spontaneous, and carefree. “There are possibilities here” she whispers.

Minx-like, she makes you work for it — just enough so that you enjoy the chase.

There are so many pleasures to be shared, secrets to be unlocked, delicious morsels to be devoured. Perche non?

“But relax Cara,” she coos, “all in good time…”

The sweetness of doing nothing

Florentine Locks Il dolce far niente

This is an actual phrase to be found in my Rick Steves guide. These Florentines, they enjoy their expansive time.

See you cannot force Florence (and Italia) to present her best to you. You simply must allow for kismet to happen on her timetable. Not to be rushed, she is worth the wait.

It is quite surprising that this NYC Gal embraces the relaxed flow of lingers and wanders. But alas, love makes us do crazy things.

On one of my first days, I overheard one of the professors tell a student, “anyone can find and fall in love in Florence.” It is true.

If you don’t find a person to fall for, Firenze will be your lover instead.

I understand why people lock themselves here.

I’m enjoying the discovery phase. Learning the history, topography, and secret spots with hidden meanings while creating new inside jokes and special places.

I have the spark in my eye, bounce in my step and sly smirk of pleasures recalled of a girl newly in love.

It isn’t a flesh and blood lover that has me so smitten, tis the bon vivant lover of fresh flesh that is this city. She who infuses her energy into our blood and beckons us into the night.

Go.

 

Always BeIN,

Jo